10 Best Teen TV Shows, Ranked According to IMDb
A good plot can’t save a TV show if all the characters are terrible, because TV is all about characters. That’s why it’s so important to have at least one compelling character that audiences of all backgrounds can relate to in some way. But getting everyone to root for a character, especially teenage audiences, can be difficult given their diverse backgrounds, which is why ensemble shows are so popular among teens.
With larger casts, there’s more of a guarantee that teens will find a character to identify with and then tune into week after week. While sets were reserved for dramas, comedies started to embrace the set mentality which has been great for comedy fans. However, no genre benefits more from the ensemble show than the teen television genre.
ten High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (2019-) – 7.2
Based on the iconic Disney Channel original movie from the early 2000s, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series introduced a whole new generation to the Wildcast heritage. The mockumentary series began airing in 2019, becoming one of Disney+’s first original series.
The show centers around a group of high school theater kids who come from a variety of backgrounds. The episodes juggle the activities surrounding a theatrical production and the personal lives of the characters. As expected, there are characters obsessed with all things theater and those who accidentally stumbled upon it like Ricky, making this a great show for anyone remotely interested in theater.
9 Good Trouble (2019-) – 7.4
A spin-off of one of Freeform’s best original series The Fosters, good trouble began airing in 2019. While the series is headlined by Callie and Mariana Adams-Foster, it also features a diverse group of twenty-somethings who all live in a communal apartment complex.
good problem has such a spectacular cast of characters that the stories usually alternate between episodes and seasons, but everyone ends up spending their time in the spotlight. From Callies struggling to become a lawyer to characters exploring their sexualities (Malika and Alice) and coming to terms with their pasts (Dennis), there’s something everyone can relate to.
8 Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001-2015) – 7.5
Degrassi: the next generation is one of the most iconic teen shows of all time. It has stood the test of time in large part because of its large ensemble cast that constantly rotated due to the characters graduating from high school and moving on.
The Canadian teen series started airing in 2001 and ran for 14 seasons before getting a spin-off that aired exclusively on Netflix. Degrassi is one of the most rebooted franchises and it’s set to be adapted again for HBO Max.
7 CO (2003-2007) – 7.5
Teen ensemble shows really flourished in the early 2000s, which is why Fox’s teen drama series CO was so popular. The show followed Ryan Atwood, an unlucky gifted teenager who is adopted by a wealthy family and moves into the family’s Newport Beach home. It ran for four seasons with the first season being one of the highest rated shows of the TV season.
While Ryan was undoubtedly the star of CO, the show also featured an ensemble cast that added drama and created some really good and bad romantic pairings over the years.
6 13 Reasons Why (2017-2020) – 7.5
Based on the bestselling young adult novel by Jay Asher, 13 reasons why became one of Netflix’s most controversial teen series of all time. While the first season followed the events of Asher’s book, the next four seasons were original and followed the teenagers of Liberty High School as they deal with various tragedies affecting their community.
The ensemble cast found their way into the second season with characters having their own unique character arcs. While not all of the characters ended up where fans thought they were, the arcs were well thought out and made the ensemble teen show entertaining if controversial.
5 All American (2018-) – 7.6
In recent years, The CW has become known for its DC Comic and Supernatural-type shows, but it hasn’t completely lost its roots in the teen set genre. The latest set of CW teens dominating the ratings is sports drama All Americans.
A mix of CO, A hill of trees, and Friday night lights the series centers on Spencer James, a soccer star who is convinced to transfer to a posh Beverly Hills high school and move into the coach in hopes of reviving his professional career. The show balances a large ensemble of teens and parents, making it a teen ensemble show that even parents can enjoy.
4 One Tree Hill (2003-2012) – 7.7
A tree hill is another iconic teen drama series that’s in the hearts of millennials nationwide. Set in North Carolina, the series centered on estranged half-brothers Lucas and Nathan Scott who end up competing for the same position on their high school basketball team. However, like most sports broadcasts, A tree hill was more than just a basketball show.
The series was known for its dramatic soap opera-like episodes and epic OTHER romantic love triangles. Early seasons followed the core cast through high school while later seasons moved quickly into the characters’ adult lives after returning to Tree Hill.
3 Yellow Vests (2021-) – 7.9
yellow jackets is the latest teen ensemble series that’s all the rage. Premiering in November 2021 on Showtime, it’s not a teen series for the faint-hearted and should definitely only be watched by older teens or with adult supervision.
The series centers on a New Jersey high school girl football team whose plane crashes, stranding them in the Canadian wilderness for nineteen months in 1996. Alternating between past and present, fans get a look intimate about the survivors and why they are the women they are.
2 Daughters of Derry (2018-) – 8.4
If some British shows benefit from an American adaptation, Derry Girls is amazing to just be a British teen show that American audiences watch thanks to Netflix. The teen sitcom centers on 16-year-old Erin, who grows up in 1990s Northern Ireland, which is constantly under the control of armed police and the British military. With her country on the brink, like most teenagers, Erin is too preoccupied with her own personal life to care as much.
In addition to Erin, the series follows several of her teenage friends who are all going through similar growing pains. The ensemble series is hilarious and heartfelt and one of the best coming-of-age stories in recent years.
1 Friday Night Lights (2006-2011) – 8.7
One of the most iconic teen ensemble shows of all time is Friday night lights. The sports drama was inspired by a 1990s non-fiction book and the 2004 film adaptation. Set in rural West Texas, the series centers on Coach Taylor and his then high school football players. as they attempt to win the state championship after an unfortunate crash injures the star quarterback.
Friday night lights is truly exceptional as its stories focus on teenage characters as well as adults, blending teen drama with adult and family drama. It ran for five seasons and was consistently saved from cancellation thanks to a loyal fanbase and critical acclaim.
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